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Married, Single or Involved - Is Your Status a Blessing or a Curse

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“You are educated and single, living in the A,” my friend, Kamryn, said enthusiastically at my reference to the difficulty of dating in Atlanta. “Girl, enjoy! You just don’t know you have the best life,” she continued before taking a sip of her Pink Moscato.

I peered across the table at her as she smirked, and nodded in agreement with herself. “Kam, you’ve been married for ten years. What do you mean 'I - have the best life?’”

“Be-cause…you come and go as you please, make and spend your money the way you want to spend it, and just the overall drama you don’t have to deal with. I mean, your life is just so glam to me, she vented.

“Glam, Kam? (Laughs) And I’m sure not every relationship is dra…”

“Oh give it time. They’re all full of shit,” she stated.

“Well, I guess we always want what we don’t have.”

“Trust and believe, you don’t want that. Leave them ninjas where they sit.”

We both laughed before chugging down the rest of our drink and dinner.

The conversation with Kam took me back to a year earlier.

I thought of a work lunch I had with my friend, Richard; a forty-five year old who had been married around twenty years... but also had a mistress of about three years at that time. Awkward as it was, I had become friends with Richard's mistress prior to knowing him, but unaware of the situation. I had also met his wife on several occasions after he and I had become acquainted. Although Richard had grown up poor, he had worked hard to put himself through nurse anesthesia school, and had done quite well for himself. I remember asking him how long he thought he could continue spreading himself between two women.

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“I don’t know. But it’s hard for me to let go because I love both of them.”

“How so, Richard? It seems somebody’s getting the short end of the stick”

“Ain’t nobody getting the short end of no-thing. If anything they're both coming out on top. Cause I’ll give whatever I have to either one of them.”

I still remember how “matter-of-factly” Richard had made that statement.

That very next day, I had a phone conversation with a another friend, Amari. She is a thirty-five year old, Flight Attendant. She’s never been married, and has no kids. When I mentioned the conversation I had with Kam, Amari had a totally different response, and seemed somewhat offended by Kam's take on relationships. “It sounds to me Kam is basing every relationship off of her busted marriage and cheating husband.”

“I think she was just trying to say there're pitfalls with both,” I chimed in.

“Maybe. But if she doesn’t want to be married anymore, get a divorce. Don’t try to talk someone else out of wanting it.”

Smiling. “Anyway girl, I didn’t call to talk about Kam’s marriage. I just wanted to hear your take on whether you thought being single was a bad thing.”

Amari fell silent. We’ve had similar discussions in the past, and she’s expressed the need to get married and have children. At times her outlook on life seemed to be measured by not having one or the other…she had honestly admitted the need is approaching desperation. Amari's dated several well-to-do men, even a reality TV star, but nothing promising. “They never pick me,” she once said in a conversation. I could see the pain in her eyes.

Her voice slightly lower, “I wouldn’t say it’s bad, but I desperately want a husband. I hate doing things alone, and always having to make decisions by myself has gotten old. I want my children to be conceived and raised within wedlock. But I do see some of what Kam is speaking of. When I see my friends who are in relationships, struggle, that’s what makes me fear it. I can’t stand to see a woman struggling, but yet she has a damn man. I think to myself, why the hell is she with him. Another thing is getting with someone who has major debt; all of that baggage scares me about being married.”

That same day I ran into Rile; a thirty year old postal worker. Riley has been married to his high school sweetheart for seven years. They have one child together. His story is somewhat interesting. Riley found out while at work through a text message, his wife had left him. After an almost two-year hiatus, they rekindled their relationship. “That’s one of the downsides of my relationship. Although we’re back together, I can’t be sure she won’t pack up again when I’m away. I’m trying hard to trust her again, Jennifer.” Although that’s one of Riley's fears, he still loves being married to his wife.

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“I feel at peace being married, just having that person to come home to. Besides that, I know it’s the right thing to do.”

Another friend, Wallace, a forty year old who’s never been married and has no kids. He’s in a common-law relationship with his girlfriend of ten years. Although his girlfriend wants to carry his last name, Wallace has no interest in it. He says he’s not married because he doesn’t want to answer to anyone. “I didn’t even want to live with her but she insisted. I guess marriage is okay. But I want to do what I want.”

Hanging out with Wallace that day were Antonio, and Keith. Both men are married with children, and have stable careers. Antonio is thirty-nine, second marriage, one child by a previous marriage. He says the drawback for him is that he has to answer to someone and compromise. “I want to move and my wife doesn’t, so I have to consider her. The things I do with my money if I were single I can’t do as a married man because now I’m accountable to my wife. And why do I have to answer to someone. I feels as if my wife should trust that I have our best interest at heart, but instead she questions me and that’s bullshit.” He points his finger in the air to drive his point home.

“And look at some of these guys who’ve worked hard all their lives. They get a divorce…she gets half of his retirement,” Antonio continued.

“So maybe it’s cheaper to keep her,” I said playfully.


“No...it’s cheaper not to ever have her!”

I moved to Keith quickly to give Antonio a minute to settle down. Keith is only twenty-four, but I was eager to hear his thoughts as well. “I enjoy being married because I hate sleeping alone at night. There’s really not a downside to marriage for me because my wife let’s me do what I want to do.”

“Hmmmm, anything, Keith,” I asked.

“Yes, pretty much anything.”

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One night while out having a drink after work with a few associates, the conversation came up again about love and relationships. These sisters are known to always speak their minds so I had to engage their take on this controversial subject. Cher, who’s a fifty-year old single woman with grown children said she didn’t see how there could be a downside to marriage or a committed relationship if you’re with the right person. “Who wants to be alone,” Cher had said. “I want someone here to fix things and help around the house. People take advantage of women when there’s no man around. I just want to have someone who has my back…and pay some of these bills.”

Lauren was eager to weigh in. She’s a forty-year old social worker who has been with her love since she’s been sixteen years old. Lauren is not as optimistic about relationships as Cher is. “I love Mike, but I fell out of love with him long ago. All he does is smoke weed, and lift weights and I’m tired of it.”

“Have you sat him down to talk to him about his behavior? Maybe he doesn’t see it as a problem,” I asked.

“Teach a grown man how to act? That was his momma's job. I’m done. I…”


“Girrrlll…you ain’t leaving Mike. You’ve been saying that for five years now, interrupted Terri.”
Lauren shakes her head at Terri's response.

Terri immediately starts talking about her relationship. She says companionship is what does it for her. “Working a stressful career I need a best friend to come home and vent to. I can talk about things with my boyfriend that I can’t tell my girlfriends. But then, there’s the problem of me wanting another kid, and him not wanting one. So there are differences like that, that seem like we’re unevenly yoked.”

Lauren jumps back in, “Another baby? Don’t you think you should be asking for a ring instead.”

The ladies went back and forth for the remainder of the evening. At the end of the night I went home and thought about the discussions over that past few weeks. While I agree with a lot of the points that had been made, I also disagree with some of them. I believe with the right person, there are very few things as blessed as marriage. It helps give one strength and tolerance to walk through the corridors of life. While marriage is definitely on the horizon, I’m in no rush.

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I’ve learned to embrace my singlehood more than ever…and all of its experiences. It has allowed me to study and learn myself, and assess what I have to offer a man. Being single has also made me stand firm in what I expect from a partner. I’ve been in unhealthy relationships that left me on the ground; and that’s worse than being single. So I’ll continue this journey alone until I find a “Boaz” who’s up for the challenge…and the blessing of loving this complex queen.

“All my single ladies. All my single ladies…put yo hands up!””

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